Never Give Up. It's been the motto I've tried to live by for my whole life. Never giving up doesn't mean never stumbling. It doesn't mean never moving backwards. It doesn't mean that you live a struggle free life. In fact, it means that you've likely stumbled, back stepped, and struggled a LOT... but the key is that you brushed off and kept moving anyways.
This is current me, in all my glory (well, not "all" of my glory, heh)... all 179 pounds of me. It's true, this is NOT the least I've ever weighed. In fact, I'm about 30 lbs. heavier now than I was at my actual lightest. The important thing right now, though, is that I'm the strongest and most pain free that I've been in YEARS!
Let's go back in time a bit to see how this all began, shall we?
Back in 2011 I wasn't quite feeling right. I noticed that I was feeling quite tired all the time, I wasn't recovering from my workouts like I used to, my brain was foggy... I started feeling like a mess. "You must be overtraining," is what everyone would tell me, but I knew that I surely wasn't. In fact, I was barely working out at that point (just hanging on enough to teach my group fitness classes). Prior to that, I had been working out regularly since 2004, and I had lost around 40 lbs. (using P90, P90X, Turbo Jam, Slim in 6, etc.), and I had become a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer. I went to the doctor and found out that I had mono. Awesome (not really)! I was around 160 lbs. at the diagnosis point (5-10 lbs. higher than my actual lowest weight... weight had crept on and I was tired all the time and didn't know what was up). I waited the mono out... I spent a lot of time on the couch watching the entirety of Battlestar Galactica and all of the original Star Trek movies. After the mono cleared up I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's (autoimmune thyroid disease). That explains why, despite the mono being gone, I was still tired (downright exhausted) all the time, and why my body hurt all over (I literally felt like I was 100 years old). I could barely walk when I got out of bed. I mean, I knew you started to feel older in your 30's, but I surely wasn't expecting it so fast! Hah.
Over the next few years I fought with this. The weight kept creeping back on, and my strength and flexibility kept diminishing. I was depressed a lot... a LOT... and I had no motivation for much at all. It took me four years (FOUR!) to find a doctor who truly understood Hashimoto's and helped me get onto a regime that would help me start to feel like ME again (as I found a doctor who had Hashimoto's himself, and he knew that in order to heal it takes more than just prescriptions and basic blood work)! I started working with him earlier this year.
Around May, I finally started to feel more like myself again. The pain was lessening, my energy was increasing, I was having less and less crashes (or autoimmune flair-ups). I learned that I needed a regime that was actually more heavily focused on strength and flexibility training and far less with cardio. So, here we are today. I'm down about 10 lbs. again from where I was at my heaviest, but it's NOT that scale number that's important to me anymore. I've learned that health is about SO much more than just a number on the scale. The important thing to me is that for the first time in years I feel STRONG, I feel FLEXIBLE, I have ENERGY again! Sure, I still battle with depression (I find that exercise IS my main "happy pill," and one of the reasons I stay consistent with it), and I still have flair-ups from time to time (usually in direct relation to the foods/drinks I've consumed OR the level of stress in my life), but I feel like ME again... the best ME that I've felt like in a long time.
I've learned that as long as you NEVER GIVE UP you can achieve what you desire, even if it takes a long time. Remember what I said... I was down for FOUR YEARS! A lot of people would've given up... but I refused! I KNEW I could feel better, and I was willing to keep working towards the solution! I fought during those four years. At times, it totally sucked. My body was in so much pain, I cried a lot... but I fought. You mostly see happy-go-lucky Facebook me, so I'm sharing this with you so that you understand what goes on behind the curtains.
If you are struggling, reach out. I know what it's like! JUST. KEEP. FIGHTING.
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